Service Details
Name:
VAN HEERDEN
Initials:
L J (VIC)
Service No:
RH6857914
Rank:
Rifleman
Other Casualties of this Rank
Regiment:
British Free Corps
Other Casualties from this Regiment
Date of Death:
1945-02-12
Other Casualties on this Date
Cause of Death:
Killed in action, during bombing of Dresden
Citations:
***Not yet accepted for War Grave Status by CWGC, need service file
Additional
Information:
L. J. Van Heerden was known as 'Vic' Van Heerden to his fellow members of the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG). He was a member of the King's Royal Rifle Corps and had then transferred into the LRDG. Van Heerden would have been a member of either S1 or S2 (Southern Rhodesian patrol) of 'B' Squadron of the LRDG. He was captured in the Dodecanese Islands on a operation with this unit in October 1943. Van Heerden, along with a number of other Commonwealth soldiers, was press-ganged into joining the BFC during his stay at Stalag III-A in Luckenwalde. This Stalag was a special camp set up for the interrogation of POWs as soon as possible after their individual capture in September and October 1943. The POW's were often slightly wounded, or in shock, as they were shipped to Luckenwalde. Once they arrived they were strip searched, and forced to watch as their uniforms and identity papers were destroyed. They were then placed on strict rations, and in some instances, forced to only wear a blanket in their cell. All of the men were placed in solitary confinement. These men were given the option of spending the rest of the war in these conditions, or to join the BFC. A few unfortunates would agree under this duress to give in to the pressure, and these men were moved to the BFC headquarters on the Schonholtzerstrasse in Pankow during October and November of 1943. The vast majority of these men, after they overcame their initial treatment at the hands of the Germans, would demand to leave the unit. Finally Van Heerden, and the other men that wanted to leave, were sent to the isolation camp at Dronnewitz just before Christmas 1943. At Dronnewitz, the men were employed on local farms. Van Heerden is believed to have returned to the BFC at some point, and during the bombing of Dresden on February 12th, 1945 was killed. He was the only individual that was killed during service with the BFC.
Commemoration
Country:
Germany
Other Casualties commemorated in Germany
Locality:
Unknown
Other Casualties commemorated in Unknown
Cemetery:
UNKNOWN CEMETERY
Other Casualties commemorated in this Cemetery

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